Frequently asked questions about K-3 and K-4 visas for spouses and children of U.S. citizens.
What is the difference between the K1 visa for fiancé(e)s and the K3 visa for spouses?
The K1 visa is issued to the fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen who will marry in the United States and apply to take up permanent residence after marriage. The K-3 and K-4 visa is issued to the spouse of a U.S. citizen who is the beneficiary of an immediate relative petition and his or her child(ren) under the age of 21. The K-3 and K-4 visa allows the holder to travel to the United States to reside while his or her immigrant visa petition is being processed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and to apply for an immigrant visa once the petition has been approved.
Can I transmit citizenship to my spouse?
No, a United States citizen cannot transmit citizenship to a spouse. If your spouse wishes to relocate with you to the United States, he/she will require an immigrant visa. A Lawful Permanent Resident who is married to a U.S. citizen may apply to become a naturalized U.S. citizen after three years residence in the United States. Questions concerning this process should be addressed to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States.
My partner/common-law spouse is a U.S. citizen. Can he/she sponsor me for immigration?
U.S. immigration law does not recognize common-law marriages. A U.S. citizen cannot file an immigrant visa petition for a partner in the immediate relative category as the spouse of U.S. citizen, or a fiancé (e) visa petition. You will be required to apply for an immigrant visa either in one of the employment based preference categories or through the Diversity Visa Program, commonly known as the lottery.
If the immigrant visa interview has been scheduled, does this mean I cannot apply for the K-3 or K-4 visa?
Yes. If you have been scheduled for an immigrant visa interview, or indeed if the Embassy or Consulate has received the approved petition, but not yet scheduled the immigrant visa interview, you are not eligible to apply for a K-3 or K-4 visa; you are required to pursue your application for an immigrant visa.
If I've been refused an immigrant visa, can I apply for a K-3 or K-4 visa?
No. If you have applied for an immigrant visa and have been refused, you are not eligible to apply for the K visa.
If I have been refused an immigrant visa, but my child has yet to apply for the visa, can he or she apply for the K-4 visa?
No. If you have been refused an immigrant visa, your child is, unfortunately, not eligible to apply for the K-4 visa, even if he or she has yet to apply for an immigrant visa.
Can I apply for a K-3 or K-4 visa if I no longer wish to continue with my application for an immigrant visa?
A K-3 or K-4 visa entitles the holder to reside in the United States only until he or she becomes eligible to apply for an immigrant visa. If you do not wish to pursue an application for an immigrant visa, you will not qualify for the K visa.
If the marriage took place in a country where there is no U.S. diplomatic presence where can I apply for the K-3 or K-4 visa?
The application will be processed by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate designated by the Department of State to accept immigrant visa processing for that particular country. You should visit the Department of State’s website for further information.
Can I apply for a K-3 or K-4 visa while in the United States?
No. You are required to return to the county where you were married to apply for the visa. If the marriage ceremony took place in the United States, you are required to apply for the visa at the Embassy or Consulate in your country of permanent or last residence.
If my child is issued a K-4 visa, what happens if he or she turns 21 before an immigrant visa is issued?
Holders of K-4 visas will be admitted for two years or until the day before their twenty-first birthday, which ever is shorter. The K-4 visa holder’s status will expire if he or she turns 21.
If my child is issued a K-4 visa , what happens if he or she marries before the immigrant visa is issued?
Holders of K-4 visas will be admitted for two years or until the day before their twenty-first birthday, which ever is shorter. The K-4 visa holder’s status will expire if he or she turns 21 or gets married.
What happens to a K-3 or K-4 visa holder when the immigrant visa petition, Form I-130, is approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services?
You will become eligible to apply for an immigrant visa.
How does the holder of a K-3 or K-4 visa apply for the immigrant visa?
If you are physically present in the United States you may apply for an adjustment of status with the USCIS. If this is your intention, you should state this fact in answer to Q.21 of form I-130. If the I-130 has already been filed and you advised the USCIS that you would apply for the visa abroad, your spouse or parent should notify the USCIS that you will apply for an adjustment of status. If you will apply for the immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate named on the immigrant visa petition, form I-130, the approved petition will be forwarded to the National Visa Center in New Hampshire which will send you the packet of forms you are required to complete in connection with your application for an immigrant visa.
My spouse, who is a U.S. citizen, has filed the immigrant visa petition on my behalf. Is he/she required to attend the immigrant visa interview with me?
No. There is no requirement that the U.S. citizen attend the immigrant visa interview. There is also no requirement that your spouse remains in Germany until you are issued with your immigrant visa; he or she may travel to the United States ahead of you.
Does my child need to attend the immigrant visa interview?
All applicants are required to attend the Consulate in person for a formal visa interview with a U.S. consular officer.
I have received a letter saying that my child is no longer eligible to derive status from my immigrant visa application as s/he is over the age of 21. My child was under the age of 21 when the petition was filed, so why is s/he no longer eligible to apply?
Your son or daughter is eligible to derive status from the immigrant visa petition filed on your behalf only while s/he is under the age of 21, regardless of her/his age at the time the immigrant visa petition was filed. As he/she was able to apply for a visa before her 21st birthday, s/he is no longer entitled to derivative status and her/his application has been canceled.
An immigrant visa petition has been filed on my behalf. I now have a child. Can s/he be added to my application?
If your baby’s mother or father is an American citizen, the baby could have claim to U.S. citizenship. If your baby has no claim to U.S. citizenship, it may be possible for the child to derive status from the immigrant visa petition filed on your behalf, or for your spouse to file an immigrant visa petition for him/her. You should notify the Immigrant Visa Section in writing of the birth of your child. They will advise you further. The address you require is U.S. Consulate General, Immigrant Visa Section, Giessener Strasse 30, 60435 Frankfurt
Since being issued with an immigrant visa I have had a baby. Can my baby immigrate with me?
If your baby’s mother or father is an American citizen, the baby could have claim to U.S. citizenship. A child born after the issuance of an immigrant visa will not need a visa to accompany the parent provided they both travel within the period of validity of the visa. A copy of the child’s long-form birth certificate showing the name of the parent must be carried for presentation to an immigration inspector at the port of entry, together with a valid travel document for the child.
I'm filing an immigrant visa petition on behalf of my son or daughter. I understand that in order to do so I'm required to reside in the U.S.?
You are not required to reside in the U.S in order to file an immigrant visa petition. However, in addition to filing the petition, form I-130, you are required to file an I-864. In order to file an I-864 you must be either reside in the U.S. or intend to resume permanent residence in the U.S. at the time your son or daughter immigrates to the U.S.
My child is not immigrating with me do I still have to list his or her details on the biographic data form OF-230-I? My child is not immigrating with me do I still have to list his or her details on the biographic data form OF-230-I?
You are required to enter the details of every child under the age of 21, including a stepchild from a marriage that was entered into while the child was under the age of 18.